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MANY years ago there lived an emperor, who cared so enormously for beautiful new clothes that he spent all his money upon them, that he might be very fine. He did not care about his soldiers, nor about the theatre, nor about driving in the park except to show his new clothes.He had a oat for every hour of the day;and just as they say of a king,“He is in council,” one always said of him, “The emperor is in the wardrobe. ”

In the great city in which he lived it was always very merry; every day a number of strangers arrived there. One day two cheats came; they gave themselves out as weavers, and declared that they could weave the finest stuff anyone could imagine. Not only were their colours and patterns, they said, uncommonly beautiful, but the clothes made of the stuff possessed the wonderful quality that they became invisible to anyone who was unfit for the office he held, or was incorrigibly stupid.

“Those would be capital clothes!”thought the emperor . “If I wore those , I should be able to find out what men in my empire are not fit for the places they have; I could distinguish the clever from the stupid . Yes , the stuff must be woven for me directly!”

And he gave the two cheats a great deal of cash in hand, that they might begin their work at once.

As for them, they put up two looms, and pretended to be working; but they had nothing at all on their looms. They at once demanded the finest silk and the costliest gold; this they put into their own pockets, and worked at the empty looms till late into the night .

“I should like to know how far they have got on with the stuff,” thought the emperor. But he felt quite uncomfortable when he thought that those who were not fit for their offices could not see it . He believed , indeed , that he had nothing to fear for himself, but yet he preferred first to send some one else to see how matters stood . All the people in the whole city knew what peculiar power the stuffpossessed , and all were anxious to see how bad or how stupid their neighbours were .

“I will send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the emperor. “He can judge best how the stuff looks, for he has sense, and no one discharges his office better than he . ”

Now the good old minister went out into the hall where the two cheats sat working at the empty looms .

“Mercy preserve us !” thought the old minister, and he opened his eyes wide.

“I cannot see anything at all ! ” But he did not say this .

Both the cheats begged him to be kind enough to come nearer, and asked if he did not approve of the colours and the pattern . Then they pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister went on opening his eyes; but he could see nothing, for there was nothing to see .

“Mercy!” thought he,“can I indeed be so stupid? Inever thought that , and not a soul must know it . Am I not fit for my office? ----No, it will never do for me to tell that I could not see the stuff.”

“Do you say nothing to it ?” said one of the weavers .

“ Oh , it is charming----quite enchanting!” answered the old minister, as he peered through his spectacles .“ What a fine pattern , and what colours ! Yes , I shall tell the emperor that I am very much pleased with it.”

“ Well , we are glad of that ,” said both the weavers ; and then they named the colours , and explained the strange pattern . The old minister listened attentively , that he might be able to repeat it when he went back to the emperor. And he did so.

Now the cheats asked for more money , and more silk and gold , which they declared they wanted for weaving. They put all into their own pockets, and not a thread was put upon the loom; but they continued to work at the empty frames as before .

The emperor soon sent again , dispatching another honest statesman, to see how the weaving was going on , and if the stuff would soon be ready . He fared just like the first : he looked and looked , but , as there was nothing to be seen but the empty looms , he could see nothing .

“Is not that a pretty piece of stuff?” asked the two cheats; and they displayed and explained the handsome pattern which was not there at all.

“I am not stupid!” thought the man----“it must be my good office , for which I am not fit . It is funny enough , but I must not let it be noticed .” And so he praised the stuff which he did not see , and expressed his pleasure at the beautiful colours and the charming pattern. “Yes, it is enchanting,” he said to the emperor.

All the people in the............

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